My essay of feedback

Hey Failbetter! I absolutely adore your game!
When I play games I really like, I tend to build up lists of small things that bug me. Most games nowadays have mod support so once my list gets big enough I’ll make a private quality of life & logic continuity mod to fix all the things that bug me.

This is the list of all the things I would change with such a mod. My reasoning for each change is implied or explicit.

[u]Making travel a little more interactive[/u]

Travelling is long, and the Sunless games are in that sweet spot where you need to pay enough attention that you can’t play while watching youtube or listening to a podcast, but aren’t engaging enough to prevent the traveltimes from seeming long. This longness is a great thing, but it gets old after a while.

My suggestion to alleviate this: add ways for us to interact with our locomotives during travel - Seas accomplished this on a basic level with the throttle & minmaxing the light on/off.

I’d like to see these two mechanics return, if only to give us something to do in certain circumstances.

Turning off the light should make us harder to detect - enemies feel one-dimensional. You either be in front of them and get their attention or they outspeed you on their patrol routes. A way to get their attention when you want it and a way to evade their attention when you don’t would be welcome.

Add a &quotconservation mode&quot that slows the locomotive to a crawl but doubles the distance we get out of a barrel of fuel to allow one to safely do something else for a couple minutes if they’re not worried about terror, or to minmax trading with a full cargo hold running without any spare fuel.

Finally, the game pauses when I open my starmap or tab out. I can’t seem to turn these features off and I’d really love to be able to. Being able to read an article during travel would be great.


My biggest issue with Sunless Sea was the lack of ship variety. Personally when I play a videogame, I become attached to the representation of my character on screen. I don’t like loot games such as borderlands because I start to really like a specific gun and it becomes as much a character as my character himself, especially in games that have linear choices. (such as the Sunless games - they’re less of an RPG and more of a choose-your-own adventure book)

In the case of Skies, that would be the locomotive. My locomotive represents myself in the game world, and having access to a locomotive that properly matches my character that I’ve created in my head both in terms of style & functionality is important to my immersion.

[u]Locomotives Part 2[/u]

At the moment I’m quite confused by them. The Bedivere class, in function, is just a more armored Spatchcock yet it’s twice the size. If you’re doubling the size of your vessel then you should be gaining interior space, be it hold or equipment slots. Armor slots don’t count since that stuff goes on the outside lol

Likewise the Pellinore is the same size as the Spatchcock but with 2 equipment slots, 2 bridge slots, AND more hold space. You can’t keep a ship the same size and increase the amount of stuff it can carry. I’d like to see the size of the Bedivere and Pellinore switched, to more accurately represent space to hold stuff vs. hull integrity. Hull integrity isn’t size per se, it’s just how much (or the quality of) metal you bolt to the outside.

I’d like to see weight come back from Seas as another way to differentiate locomotives. With a weight system you can still make the Bedivere more ponderous to represent its armor in comparison to the Spatchcock. The courser is described as being nippy, but without weight there’s no way to represent that.

I’d like to see locomotive class influence combat terror gain. Not passive terror, since that’s sky-madness. Personally I’d feel much safer on an combat locomotive than a cargo ship held together with duct tape.

On the subject of combat locomotives, there’s no way to differentiate them from haulers aside from hull strength and crew capacity. More crew capacity is a downside since you consume far more supplies. Adding hull strength would ideally make them less agile, thus reducing their combat effectiveness. I propose buffing their heat dissipation rate to make them a more attractive option for people who tend to get into big fights. I’d also like to see equippable heatsinks that go into the armor slot since I don’t always want more raw health.

Another way to make high-health, low-hold space locomotives more viable is to change repair cost to work by % rather than per point. The tanky trains would get a repair discount and that makes sense - if you have a ton of armor you get damaged less by munitions than something squishy does. A dent is easier to fix than a hole.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that a lot of these suggestions nerf the starting locomotive. That’s entirely accurate. I can take on multiple of any enemy in the game easily using the starting locomotive equipped with the starting armaments. The reach has no sense of danger. The only relevant train stat is hold space.


I keep getting hull pickups when my hull is full. Here is how I would improve this:

  • Hull pickups put a usable item in your hold that can be used to instantly restore 10 hull. This way all pickups need a hold space, for consistency. Buy for 20, sell for 10 @ engine equipment shops. Kinda like the rattus faber consumable in Seas.

  • ??? Hull pickups overheal, providing temporary ablative armor, increasing weight ??? ← I’d like to see this but I know you won’t like it. Keeping it here for completion’s sake.


Sometimes there are bargains at a port for the resource it’s requesting. Not necessarily a bug, but peculiar.

I don’t like buying crew at a shop. Instead of me feeling bad about treating my crew like a resource, the game is outright saying &quotthese are a resource&quot.

When the docks grab me and open the journal, the game gets paused. Being on the dock already pauses supply & fuel consumption so I’d like to have the option for the journal to not pause stuff. The pausing creates a jarring disconnect between the travel and reading parts of the game.

Enemies are far too easy to defeat and their rewards far too meagre. The reach carries no sense of danger, and beating enemies has no sense of reward.
Case in point: SS Feedback vid - YouTube
I sped up travelling between fights instead of cutting it out to showcase that those aren’t cherrypicked occurences. Every encounter is like that. Also shown in that video: Enemy carcasses are still spawned in after they die and my train can collide with them. In the case of marauders; taking collision damage. All of my damage at that point had been taken by running into invisible marauder corpses… and the circus that one time. Marauders shoot before they’re in range to actually hit me. Their projectiles exploding on the side of the screen is super weird.

Someone suggested to put a red light on one side and a green light on the other side of the locomotives to make it easy to know which direction we’re boosting in. This is a great idea. In the video you can see me frequently boosting back and forth to figure out what side is what… and running into the circus.

Btw I love all the stuff you added in the newest update so much, I can't let it go unmentioned :^)

edited by Flypaste on 2/1/2018
edited by Flypaste on 2/1/2018
edited by Flypaste on 2/1/2018

I agree that travel needs to be a little bit more engaging, though this latest patch is a step in the right direction.

I also agree that the locomotives weight, speed and everything else needs tuning a bit.

I watched your video of you taking out Reach Marauders. Very nicely done each time :-)

I also think that Reach Marauders don’t offer enough loot and have commented on that as well. However all the other ‘monster’ types seem reasonably well balanced to me when it comes to risk v reward. Dreadnaughts actually seem to offer more loot than they should for how difficult they are to take out.

Have you met a Scrive Spinster yet? They are pretty rare and quite dangerous. I’ve met two. Killed the first but died to the second. I think its safe to say there’s going to be more dangerous beasties amongst the stars than the Reach Marauders you’ve met so far.

Yup. Fought the spinster, it shoots too fast to dodge so the only viable strategy is to tank it. Really one-dimensional enemy. I don’t attack dreadnoughts and scouts because I’m not a rude dude lol, so I don’t know what their loot is.

I think the bedivere is pretty underpowered. it sacrifices mobility for more armor, but not enough armor. I found that i do far better in combat with a pellinore, than a bedivere. Seriously. The difference in armor is not enough to compensate for all the extra hits you won’t be dodging. Bedivere really needs something like 160-200 health

Also, although it’s not relevant yet since there’s no content for it, the Parsival has a Large weapon slot, but the bedivere does not. that seems backward and those two should be swapped imo

Also i have to strongly second the request for some control over when the game pauses. I’d like to be able to tab out, or to browse through cargo/officers/journal without pausing the game, so i can do those things while travelling
edited by Nanako on 2/1/2018

Looking at the graphics, the bedivere definitely looks like it should be a souped up spatchcock. You can find one in the engine yard in winchester and a rusty one docked at the circus, they’re both spatchcock-sized.
edited by Flypaste on 2/1/2018


I’d like to see weight come back from Seas as another way to differentiate locomotives. …

On the subject of combat locomotives, there’s no way to differentiate them from haulers… equippable heatsinks [/quote]

I think we have a lot of similar ideas, and you may be interested in this proposal

Hah! It’s like you read my mind. I hope failbetter loves it too.